Everything You Need to Know About A Graphic Design Agency

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What Is a Graphic Design Agency & How Does It Work

What Is a Graphic Design Agency & Should You Work With One?

Graphic design
December 21, 2022
8 minutes

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Modern businesses need high-quality graphics to stand a chance in this competitive market. Therefore a traditional graphic design agency is the choice of many business owners as a way of ensuring high-quality, timely design. But what is a graphic design agency, and how do they work?

Do you need graphic design for your business? The answer is a resounding yes. Here are just a few ways graphic design can impact the success of your business.

  1. It helps build brand recognition: 75% of consumers recognize a brand by its logo.
  2. It influences purchasing decisions: colors are the number one factor influencing purchase decisions for 93% of people.
  3. It impacts your online presence: website click-through rates are 42% higher for websites with visuals, and image-based content marketing increases organic traffic by 175%.

And we could go on. So, you want whoever is producing graphic design for your company to be a real pro. There’s no doubt that graphic design agencies provide high-quality graphics and have a detail-oriented approach. So how do graphic design agencies work?

We’ll explore this in the next section.

What is a graphic design agency?

What’s the difference between a marketing and graphic design agency, and is there even a difference?

Yes and no. Ordinarily, when we speak of a marketing agency, we refer to full-service agencies that work on the design as well as other aspects of the project (market research, copywriting, web development).

A graphic design agency, on the other hand, deals exclusively with design. However, there are different types of design agencies these days that work the same as full-service marketing agencies.

So before you search for the query “graphic design agency near me,” make sure you know what you need help with. If it’s merely the execution of your ideas into design, different graphic design companies may be a more budget-friendly solution (we’ll explore this further in the last section).

What does a graphic design agency do?

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As we’ve pointed out, it depends on the agency, but here are some graphic design services for which hiring a graphic design agency could be a sound idea.

Branding design

The design of logos and branding is probably the reason why most businesses hire graphic design agencies. If done well, a logo and brand design can last for decades, if not forever - the Coca-Cola logo is the longest-running logo design at 125 years!

coca cola logo evolution.png Logos World

So while you can always hire a freelancer, the appeal of the best graphic design agencies is that they conduct thorough research and come up with designs that perfectly align with your brand values and target audience.

Usually, branding and design agencies never create a logo only. Instead, they’ll come up with a complete brand kit and guidelines that you can use to create graphic design that matches your brand image.

Find out how to build a strong and unique brand

Download our guide to learn all about branding and visual identity

Print design

Although there are loads of budget-friendly templates online, creating high-quality and unique print designs takes lots of experience. Suppose your company advertises through print (brochures, posters, booklets, etc.). In that case, a graphic design agency can help you create stunning designs that convert.

On the other hand, if you have a big one–off project, such as a large publication or billboards, hiring a visual design agency can ensure you get top-quality results.

Website design

How do graphic design agencies work and is web development a part of their core offer? This might be a question you’re particularly interested in if you need to create a website for your business.

Again, it depends on the agency, but if a graphic design agency has website design as part of their core offer, web development is usually part of the package. Hiring a web design agency means you get the entire project taken care of.

Of course, with a price tag that commonly exceeds several thousand dollars, this isn’t something every business can afford. Especially if you consider that plenty of great website builders allow you to create and launch a website for very little money or sometimes even for free.

A custom website, however, has numerous advantages, the main one being that it’s tailored exactly to your needs. Hence, the likelihood of having to redesign it in the future is smaller. Also, don’t forget that a professional website is one of your brand’s most valuable assets - 75% of people judge a company’s credibility based on the website’s look.

Digital design

There’s no way a business can succeed without a digital presence. Even if you rely heavily on offline marketing, things like social media profiles are a must these days. In fact, 52% of online brand discoveries come from social media.

Some of the most iconic digital ads we still remember today were created by the best graphic design agencies in the market. Graphic design doesn’t just impact the success of your digital ad campaigns. A memorable ad can tremendously enhance your brand image and boost brand recognition.

How do graphic design agencies work?

A designer working in-house for a single company usually has a straightforward task insofar that each piece of design reflects the same set of brand values and messages.

So how do graphic design agencies work, and how does it differ?

Well, a design agency rarely just “gets to work,” i.e., creates designs. There are several steps that they usually need to take with new clients to come up with fitting graphics.

Designer's Work Tracking Checklist

Learn how to work effectively with designers: from writing a brief to giving feedback and tracking work.

The best graphic design agencies will thoroughly research the market and identify opportunities for a business to stand out. A team of people will help the business identify a marketing strategy aligned with the brand’s mission and vision.

Only then will the agency’s design team start developing visual solutions. Most graphic design agencies work on a per-project basis, which means as many revisions as necessary for the client to be satisfied.

However, remember that a single design project with a design agency costs several thousand dollars (after all, you’re paying for a whole team of people). So, the projects that graphic design agencies typically take on are more complex (e.g., rebranding, new website, large ad campaign, etc.).

It’s very difficult to give you a rough estimate of the project cost, since there are several factors at play such as, the complexity of the project, the time frame, the industry, the agency location and experience, and so forth.

Still, if you decide to work with a graphics agency, you won’t be left in the dark until the final bill arrives. Agencies will provide you with a cost estimate before you start working so that you can decide whether this fits your budget. Naturally, any additional costs and billable hours not agreed upon will result in extra expenses.

The pros & cons of a graphic design agency

Now that you know how a graphic design firm functions, it’s time to discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks of working with them.

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The pros

The most obvious pro of working with a graphic design agency is the quality and versatility of designs you can expect. With a team of designers working on your project, graphic design agencies offer the most creative and original visual solutions.

Another major advantage is the professional service. You usually don’t have to worry about unwelcome surprises when you pay the big bucks. Design agencies ensure the work delivered is 100% to your satisfaction, with any revisions included in the project cost.

The cons

Working with the best graphic design agencies comes with one big drawback: it’s very expensive. A single project usually costs several hundred dollars, while the common types of design services agencies offer will set you back by up to $10,000. Only large corporations employ design agencies on a continuous basis. Most other businesses hire a graphic design agency for a large project while using an alternative design provider for their day-to-day needs (in-house designers, freelancers, or unlimited design companies).

Another less obvious disadvantage of graphic design agencies is the lack of a personal touch. Of course, this isn’t to say agencies are impersonal. As we’ve said, they usually put a lot of work into understanding your brand and devising a fitting art direction and strategy. However, remember that agencies also work with other clients, so your business may not be their priority at a given moment.

Moreover, you’ll rarely work with designers directly. Instead, your ideas and feedback must go through project managers and art directors before it reaches the people creating designs. So, if you enjoy a hands-on approach, this aspect may be frustrating.

Find out how and where to outsource your graphic design needs

Download our guide to find a solution that suits your business

An alternative to graphic design agencies

A Graphic agency offers high-end services at a premium cost. If you think the investment is worth it at this time, feel free to check out this list of some of the best graphic design agencies you can work with.

However, if you’re looking for high-quality graphics that won’t break your budget, look no further than our unlimited design service.

Get all the graphics you need for an affordable flat monthly rate. Starting at just $549, you can get all your projects done for a fraction of the cost of a single project created by a traditional graphic design agency. Best of all, you still get many of the agency perks:

  • Work with a team of graphic designers with different skills.
  • Keep all your designs in one place and communicate directly with designers through our custom platform.
  • Get assistance from designated project managers who make sure the process runs smoothly.

Keen to know more? Check out how it works, or schedule a free demo 1:1 demo session for a chance to ask us any questions!

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Danica Popovic

December 21, 2022

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.